A mining company has created an industry-wide competition to beat heat stress and hydration issues for its’ workforce. The Telfer Gold-Copper mine in Western Australia has created a competition through Unearthed Innovator to bring about innovative wearable solutions to enable its workforce to self-monitor hydration levels, aggregate site data and provide notifications to mine workers when hydration levels decline.
Newcrest’s Telfer gold-copper mines in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, are seeking innovative wearable technology to help workers maintain hydrated during extreme conditions where outside temperatures often exceed 40 °C with maximum temperatures in excess of 50°C.
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Newcrest says that “Working shifts of 12 hours, maintaining hydration is critical to personal safety. Dehydration can impact cognitive functions and decrease decision-making abilities and at later stages lead to serious health issues. It is therefore important for Newcrest to ensure that all site personnel maintain adequate hydration levels to ensure a safe working environment. “
The company currently uses hydration urine test strips located in toilets around its site for self-testing however, the location of the self-test strips often require mine workers to leave their job sites to carry out hydration testing.
The company also said that it has trialled the use of portable electronic refractometers for urine testing however the use has been problematic as the tester is required to urinate into a small cup and then the sample is tested from the cup, therefore a toilet is still required.
Alarmingly the company said that in a recent random urine hydration test, which sampled 30% of the approx 500 shutdown workers in the morning prior to the day shift, it found that 3% were dehydrated and needed to be stood down from work or needed further medical intervention. Up to one-third of all workers didn’t start the day with adequate hydration levels.
The company is offering a $10K prize for a suitable solution and the opportunity to continue working to implement a successful system across its’ sites. You can read more information at the Unearthed Solutions site
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